Many people understandably fear driving on interstates due to driving in congestion at high speeds and sharing these roads with semi-trucks, which are much larger in size and weight than most vehicles. Accidents with semi-trucks are often life-altering or fatal and personal injuries resulting from these collisions can be significant. For this reason, transportation officials are always looking for ways to make our roads safer by studying and investigating what can be done to make collisions both preventable and less dangerous when they occur.
According to an article by WBNS-10TV, the Department of Transportation recently conducted a national safety study that showed that weak guards on semi-trucks could be blamed for hundreds of deaths annually. Now, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is considering increasing the standards for rear impact guards on the trailers of semi-trucks. The purpose of these guards, sometimes called “under-ride bars,” is to prevent following cars from going underneath semi-trucks in the case of a rear end car accident. However, the guards have received criticism as of lately for being too weak to prevent cars traveling at high speeds on interstates and highways from sliding under.
The report shows that defective guards cause an average of 250 deaths in the United States annually. Because these guards cannot stop accidents at high speeds they are likely contributing to fatalities instead of preventing them. The problem inherently lies with the design of the guards. When they work properly and prevent a car from sliding under a semi-truck, passengers’ lives are often saved by the deployment of their vehicle’s air bags. However, the design of these guards have only been made to prevent accidents with speeds of approximately 30-35 miles per hour, which is why they often cause fatal accidents on highways. Therefore, experts conclude that many deaths could be prevented with better designed and stronger rear guards.
Each lawyer at our firm stands by the belief that every step should be taken to prevent the loss of lives, and additional safeguards such as improved designs should be implemented, especially where deaths are knowingly preventable. While one industry spokesman argued d in the above article that making the rear guards of semi-trucks stronger could make trucks more expensive to operate, our attorneys believe that the price of saving lives far outweighs the costs associated with bringing trucks up to date and safer for others on the roads. Where an average of 250 lives could be saved each year, this cost is minimal. If you have lost a loved one in a truck accident that was caused by a product defect or the negligence of another person, contact our attorneys to learn more about what legal options are available to you.